District Communication (March 15 - March 25)

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 25

Good Evening,

Yesterday, two of our school police officers were potentially exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus).  The officers were delivering a device to a family that was in need of technology. During the interaction, the parent indicated that a child in the home was presumptive positive for Coronavirus. The officers were wearing face masks and gloves during the delivery. In an abundance of caution, the officers were placed on administrative leave for 14 days. Neither officer has exhibited any symptoms. 

Each day, all of our school police officers and cafeteria workers are screened by our school nurses. This process will continue. Our police officers, workers and custodial staff are performing a critical task of providing food to our students.  We are now serving 1,300 students, which equates to approximately 18,000 meals per week.

I respectfully request that families do not directly interact with our police officers, especially if somebody in the home is ill. They will continue to leave the food at the front door. If somebody in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus), we would sincerely appreciate it if you would let your child’s principal know. We will not stop meal delivery to your home. However, being fully aware of the situation will help protect our police officers. As more people lose their jobs or are unable to work during this situation, the number of children we need to feed grows.  Please don’t do anything that would jeopardize this resource to our families.

Sincerely,

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 23

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

I hope you and your family are well.  I want to thank you upfront for your flexibility and patience with us as we move to flexible instruction/remote learning.  As of this afternoon, Governor Wolf has extended the school closure through April 9, 2020 for students. Given this information, we will continue with our flexible instruction/remote learning plan. 

We know that remote learning will not be a great way to learn for all students.  Please know that we are doing our best. We know you are as well. Each family's ability to support their children is different. We recognize that. 

Our goal is to help all of our students. This week, our special education teachers will reach out to each of their students/families to talk through how we can best support these students while they are learning remotely.  Updates specific to special education will be posted on our website here: https://www.basdk12.org/Content2/1620

Our regular education teachers have also been working on developing strategies to support students remotely. As a reminder, you can find our enrichment opportunities here: https://www.basdk12.org/Content2/1626

Despite all of these efforts, we understand that each student may have different levels of success during the closure. Therefore, when we return to school, some students may need additional academic support, which we intend to provide.  For other students, additional learning opportunities will be made available this summer. At this point, we are providing a program to all knowing that in the future, we will need to develop individualized plans for our students.

As we move forward, our communication strategy will change.  I will continue to send updates on major announcements, such as the Governor extending or ending the school closures. However, I will not send a daily update. The regular updates will be more focused on the needs of our students by grade level. Our building principals will coordinate this communication. 

Thank you all for your continued patience and flexibility. 

 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 20

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

Our faculty and administrators have been working hard this week to figure out how to provide flexible instruction/remote learning to all students. With about 6,500 students districtwide who all have different needs, this is not an easy task. However, I really want to keep us on track to allow our seniors to graduate on time, if at all possible. This plan will hopefully allow us to do that. 

Here is what to expect for next week and beyond.

Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24

  • Students (or parents) should select any three activities from the Student Learning Enrichment Activities List to complete each day.  Click to view the list>
  • List these activities on the BASD Tracking Calendar, sign the bottom and hang on to it. This will be turned in at a later date. Click to download the tracking calendar>
  • Don’t forget to listen to Butler Radio Network at 9 am (grades 7-12) and 9:30 am (grades K-6). This can be one of your activities each day! 
  • Review the Tips for Getting Ready for Remote Learning 

Wednesday, March 25, Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27

  • All parents will receive an email regarding specific assignments for your child to complete. IHS and SHS students will also receive an email with this information. 
  • These assignments will use the class materials that were sent home on March 12. Students will not be required to access online resources at this time. 
  • Each teacher will communicate when they will be holding “office hours” and share a link. During the office hours window, teachers will be online to answer questions and assist students and families. 

Monday, March 30 and Beyond

  • All parents will receive an assignment email each week. Secondary students will also receive an email. 
  • Assignments may or may not utilize online resources. 
  • Each teacher will communicate when they will be holding “office hours” and share a link. During the office hours window, teachers will be online to answer questions and assist students and families. 

We are making a plan to connect families in need with devices and hotspots. This will occur throughout next week. Our goal is to work with our families and not penalize students if they are unable to complete their assigned work. If your child is not able to complete an assignment, please reach out to his or her teacher and make them aware of your situation. 

We designed our plan to serve as many students as possible. However, we know we will have to make adjustments and accommodations to reach every child. As we move forward, we are prepared to make adjustments as needed. My hope is that we can all work together to make the best of this situation.

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 19, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Just a week ago life was pretty normal. Today I’m dizzy from how much has changed.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education has sent a lot of information out to school districts.  Some of their guidelines and instructions are still not clear, however we are making plans to move forward with the information that we do have. 

This week, our teachers have been participating in professional development related to teaching remotely. I really appreciate their willingness to jump in, collaborate and learn together.

Next week, I hope to begin the process of transitioning to flexible instruction/remote learning.  I realize that all of our students have their own unique situations and not everyone has digital technology or access to the internet. We are working to find ways to fill those gaps.

As we transition into a flexible instruction/remote learning platform, we will be using a variety of methods to deliver instruction. I anticipate sharing more details tomorrow, but I do want to make you aware that starting on Monday, March 23, Butler Area School District will be partnering with Butler Radio to provide information and instruction to our students and families.  We will have a daily teacher-led broadcast from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for all secondary students in grades 7-12 and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for all elementary students in grades K-6. You will be able to access the broadcast on WISR AM 680 or through the internet at https://butlerradio.com (choose the “Listen Now” tab and select WISR AM 680). 

Butler Area School District 
On Butler Radio Network
Weekdays at 9:00 am (grades 7-12) and 9:30 am (grades K-6)
WISR AM 680
https://butlerradio.com
(choose the “Listen Now” tab and select WISR AM 680)

I want to thank Butler Radio Network for their willingness to partner with our school district to provide this opportunity to our students. 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

Enrichment Learning -- March 18, 2020

Butler Area School District
Student Learning Enrichment Activities

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our faculty has been busy creating a list of options for student learning activities that will help keep students engaged during our school closure. These activities can also help prepare students for the possibility of flexible instruction/remote learning. They are not required. These are enrichment resources for families to explore.

The links below will take you to sites targeted at each subject area. We have included both online and offline options.

If we do begin flexible instruction/remote learning, it will be extremely important to establish structure and routine as soon as possible. Some thoughts and tips include:

  • Identify a space, such as a dining room table, that could become the study space. It is beneficial to make this space different from a bedroom or other location with distractions.
  • Develop a structured schedule for school work. This structure will begin to form a routine.
  • Eliminate other distractions, such as cell phones and television, from the environment.
  • Ensure some “brain breaks” and exercise opportunities within the work times. The balance of mind and body will be especially important given the stress and anxiety. 
  • Reinforce the importance of consistency in sleep patterns. We want to avoid “summer mode” when some students stay up very late and then “sleep until noon.” 
  • Stay focused on the learning. Students can take this opportunity to learn more about things that interest them. It is rare to have such flexibility to really focus on personal areas of interest and study. This is a great chance to do so! 

 

Click the link for access to student learning enrichment activities. 
We will continue to add additional resources to these pages.

Math

ELA/English
Science
Social Studies
Special Area
(Art, Music, PE, Health, World Languages, Guidance, Library, STEAM, Family Consumer Science)
Special Education Resources

We hope you find these activities helpful!

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

I want to extend my appreciation to our school community. Often in the face of a difficult situation, you see the very best in people. This is especially true of our Butler community.

Many of our school district employees have contributed to helping us support students and families during this uncertain time. These people have stepped up and taken on roles outside of their traditional job assignments. I’m  grateful for their commitment to supporting our students by any means necessary.

We have also had many offers from people who are willing to volunteer to help. At this time, we do not currently need volunteers. However, that could change at any time. If you would be willing to volunteer in the event that we need extra help to support our students and their families, please complete our volunteer form. We will contact you if we need your help. 

Volunteer form: https://www.basdk12.org/Content2/1616

Thank you to everyone for pulling together and helping our community through this unprecedented time. 

I have also received a few questions about events, activities, athletics and meetings. At this time, everything that was scheduled to take place between now and Sunday, March 29 has been canceled or postponed. 

I have also been asked if we are going to cancel all events through the remainder of the school year. At this time, my answer is no, we are not going to do that. At least not yet. 

The end of the year includes so many special events for our students. Today, I'm going to hold on to hope that it may be possible for us to move forward with some of them. Therefore, at this time, we will only be making decisions about whether or not to cancel events a week or two ahead of time unless directed otherwise by Governor Wolf’s Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Health or the Pennsylvania Department of Education. More information about events can be found here: https://www.basdk12.org/Content2/1618

Currently, our teachers are participating in professional development related to Google Classroom. Some have populated lessons as part of their planning. Please remember, even if you see your child’s teacher posting assignments in Google Classroom, they are not required at this time. We are not currently participating in any flexible instruction/remote learning for students. If that changes, we will let you know.

I have tried to be open in all of my communication and we continue to add information and resources here: https://www.basdk12.org/administration/covid19

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to digital communication, so some of our families do not have all of the information that we have sent out. We will be sending a call out to all families tonight to let them know that students still do not have school and have not yet been assigned any school work. I apologize if this is redundant for you. 

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility. 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 16, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

At this point, all of our school buildings are closed and will no longer be accessible through Friday, March 27. I would like to thank everyone who came to pick up materials, medications and personal belongings for their cooperation today. We were able to do this quickly and effectively in all of our buildings thanks to the organization of our staff and the cooperation of our families.

This week our faculty is participating in online professional development in preparation for the potential to implement Flexible Instructional Days/Remote Learning.

So why haven't we just jumped into Flexible Instructional Days?

When we applied to be authorized to use Flexible Instructional Days, we envisioned having a day here or there most likely in response to inclement weather. Having an extended period of Flexible Instructional Days/Remote Learning is very different than what we originally imagined.   

In addition, as we understand it, PDE is allowing -- but not requiring -- districts to provide continuity of education at this time. However, if we do decide to engage in flexible instruction/remote learning, we must be able to ensure full access to learning for all students. This includes ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access and that we are able to provide any special education and related services that are defined in a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.

We are working through this and asking for clarity from the state. As we receive more information and determine our capability, we will make a decision about whether or not to  implement flexible instruction/remote learning next week.


Food Service Meals

We already have 903 children signed up for meals.  All Butler Area School District students are able to order breakfast and lunch during our school closure. We will be prepared to provide a meal for each student signed up though the entire closure. You only need to sign up once and your child will continue to receive meals each day through the remainder of the closure. 

Meals can be picked up at either the Center Avenue Community School or the Emily Brittain Community Partnership and Demonstration School between 11 am and 1 pm. If needed, we will also deliver.

Please note, all the meals are free to any Butler Area School District student and any other person under the age of 18.  You do not have to be on free or reduced lunch to receive a meal.  This is open to all.

Sign up: https://forms.gle/Xf2NtW4fBMCUhQXU8

I hope you and your family stay safe and well. Thank you for your continued patience and support. 

Sincerely,

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

BASD Medication, Textbook & Personal Belonging Pickup -- March 15

Dear Parents and Guardians:

All of our schools will be accessible for parents or students to pick up any personal belongings, including medications and textbooks, on Monday, March 16 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

As a reminder, our school district is closed. Staff will direct you to your child’s classroom, locker or school nurse's office to pick up any necessary items. However, staff will not be available for informal meetings or to answer questions in person during this time.

Medication, Textbook and Personal Belonging Pick-up
If your child keeps medication at school or has personal belongings that he or she needs during the school closure, you may pick it up on Monday.

If your child was absent or had an early dismissal on Thursday, March 12, 2020, please go to your child’s school to pick up their textbooks on Monday if at all possible. If it is not possible for you to pick up your child’s textbooks, we will look at alternative ways to get them to you in the near future. We want all students to have their textbooks at home so that we are prepared if the Pennsylvania Department of Education allows us or directs us to begin Flexible Instructional Days/Remote Learning.

Here are the materials that students should have at home:

Grade/Level

Materials to be sent home:

Secondary Students (7-12)

Materials, such as textbooks, needed for each class. 

Middle School (5-6)

Math Journal

ELA Close Reader

Social Studies book

Grades 2-4

Math Journal

ELA Hardback book

ELA Student Notebook

Grade 1

Math Journal for Chapter 10

ELA Decodable Reader

ELA Readers Notebook

Kindergarten

Math Journal for Chapter 11

ELA Readers Notebook

ELA Hardback book

Student Email (Grades 7-12) and Clever (Grades K-6) Logins
If your child did not receive his or her login information on Thursday, March 12, we are working on a way to get that information to students who need it.

Meals
We have been approved by the state to continue food service for all Butler Area School District students during our closure. If your child (or children) need breakfast and lunch, please click the link below to complete the order form. You will have the option to pick up the food at either Center Avenue Community School or Emily Brittain Community Partnership and Demonstration School. If you are unable to pick up food for your children, delivery is an option.

Food service order form: https://forms.gle/Xf2NtW4fBMCUhQXU8

Meal Order Deadlines
Please sign up using the food service order form by 9 pm in order to pick up food for the next day. You only need to sign up once and your child’s breakfast and lunch will be ready for pick up every day (Monday-Friday) through the remainder of the closure.

If you need food to be delivered, please sign up by noon the day before to ensure we are able to fit your home into our route and delivery schedule. Once again, you only need to sign up one time and your child’s breakfast and lunch will be delivered each day (Monday-Friday) for the remainder of the closure.

Social Distancing
All employees who have to report to work have been asked to follow the social distancing recommendations provided by the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We expect all parents and students to comply with the social distancing guidelines and directives when picking up items from school and/or picking up meals.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Sincerely,

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 


Previous Communication 

Click to read previous communication from Feb. 26 - March 14>